Stranger 3, Day – Meet Chris, the “Agent of Change”

Stranger 3, Day 3 - Meet Chris

I met Chris in one of the oddest ways — indirectly via the men’s bathroom at Atlanta Tech Village. Okay, I exaggerate somewhat. I happened to find his wallet which led me to stalking him on social media to tell him I found his wallet. Perhaps not surprisingly from ATV, Chris is an entrepreneur, and so he was readily accessible via LinkedIn. Couple days later (to today), we met up to chat which, as you can see, led me to interviewing him for Stranger 3.

So let me introduce you to Chris.

Chris, 29

Who are you?

As a first question goes, this required some thinking. The question is broad for good reason — to see how he viewed himself. Chris started out slowly, and then accelerated, “constantly evolving… an agent of change”.

Chris continued to highlight this “evolving” concept saying, “the only constant is change… even sitting for 30 minutes, our bodies have changed.” At this point, I figured Chris was going to be pretty intellectual and a forward thinker — no surprise as someone hanging around Atlanta Tech Village. “Be a better version of self than the day before… being a salesman, son, friend… an entrepreneur and connector.” He and I were going to get along just fine.

What are your passions? Dreams?

I knew the moment I asked this I was going to be frantically jotting notes, and Chris didn’t disappoint.

“On passion is Solermis — bring product in my head to creation.” Solermis is his startup (as you can probably deduce) optimizing our “bodies’ energy”.

Chris was now in full-speed listing everything he had passion for:

  • Experiencing everything about life
  • Music
  • Learning (especially the entrepreneurial stuff and building startups in a “smart way”)
  • Physics, biotech, history

And then, Chris quickly added, “not financial planning” which is what he had been doing for several years. He shared exactly the kind of moments I love to hear about — the moment when you realize you need to jump off the current train. For Chris, he had the idea of Solermis years ago. Only recently did Chris have the epiphany to seriously take this idea from head to reality. He spent months research its viability concluding that the technology to bring Solermis to life was finally available. But that wasn’t the moment he knew he needed to jump. Instead, it was at a startup/ entrepreneur “pitch practice” one Friday at ATV.

Chris entered Pitch Practice wanting to perfect his 30-second pitch as a Financial Planner. He wanted to become a better seller, but as he heard the entrepreneurs in the room share their ideas, Chris wanted try his pitch on Solermis, and so he did. Chris received lots of feedback, good and bad. Fresh off this high, Chris called his boss that afternoon and announced he was quitting. There was no plan other than to pursue his dream.

This was great to hear for me as an entrepreneur and doer, but what else was beautiful to hear was how he felt after telling his boss — “weight off my shoulders”. He felt that he had been “lying” to himself all these years, and not being “true in my heart”. For Chris, and many other entrepreneurs, the moment to jump came from an inner voice constantly tell him to leap, and trust in himself. That… that’s the story I love to hear.

What is your biggest regret?

Chris took a second to think about this question. I wasn’t surprised given as he was like me, it’s hard to say “regret” when even negative situations put us in positions we are today.

Chris thought hard about his regret and shared, “Not getting out of my comfort zone sooner”. Chris developed a philosophy of being uncomfortable before traveling to Europe years ago. He realized everyone around him was markedly “sad” having their 9-5 jobs. They were working so hard now to do things later… sacrificing the present. So Chris has been pursuing as much as he can that makes him uncomfortable including taking a break and traveling through Europe.

“At some point, nothing become uncomfortable, and I can do anything.”

Any great life lessons you wish to share?

“You attract what you are not what you want. If you want great then be great.” — Chris didn’t remember who said this, but has carried this with him ever since he heard this. (I couldn’t find the originator either.)

Like Manny from yesterday, Chris was very reflective in suggesting one cannot just sit around wanting. People need to go after what they want.

Another quote he’s borrowed from the cofounder of FedEx: “Always be learning.” This… this Chris has done well to live up to.

What was your life-defining moment?

Chris shared how he had reinvented himself several times over the years, but points to the very first moment back in 2011/12 when he worked for a residential development company. Not that he loved the job, but out of the blue, he was let go. At this moment, Chris called one of his fraternity brothers and made, what could’ve been a crazy idea at the time, decision to leave his home state of Mississippi for Nashville. He had never lived outside of MS, and felt compelled to make the trek out to Nashville. He and his friend had talked about it before, but with no job holding him in Mississippi, Chris wanted to make a drastic change.

Just weeks later, Chris landed a job as a supply chain consultant which would bring him to all corners of the U.S. For someone who had not traveled much outside Mississippi’s borders, Chris was now constantly on the road. The constant change and travel enabled Chris to move to ATL years later.

For Chris, this moment taught Chris to have sometimes blind faith things will go right.

After the handshake.

My meeting with Chris was great. I felt connected with him beyond the entrepreneurial journey. He and I had common fascinations in psychology and human behavior. We both embraced “being comfortable being uncomfortable”. Heck, we both laughed and appreciated how we both appreciated the word “serendipity”.

The other point I really appreciated from my talk with Chris was having trust and faith in the self. What happened cannot be changed, but how we react now can be changed. Don’t just dream about grandeur and greatness… go after it. And when things don’t quite go our way, realize, too, that you can (and will) adapt.

Brings me to Steve Jobs’ famous quote: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.

Meet Chris. No longer a Stranger.

1 reply
  1. Chris Mitchell
    Chris Mitchell says:

    Great stuff here, Daryl! It’s always interesting to me to gain another’s perspective on my behavior and words. Keep up the great work – 100 days and 100 strangers will have come and gone before you know it. As you already well know, enjoy the journey and don’t worry about the destination – its always changing anyways!


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